TOPEKA (KSNT) – What seemed like en exciting night, turned into a nightmare for Washburn Volleyball.
During the NCAA Division II Volleyball Selection Show, the pairings were announced for Washburn’s region, and to their surprise, the Ichabods were left off.
“The reaction was ‘You’ve got to be kidding me?'” said Chris Herron, Washburn Head Coach.
For the first time in 12 years, Washburn (28-6) will not be playing for an NCAA Championship after Nebraska-Kearney was the only MIAA to make the field.
“So the 2nd place in the MIAA is apparently not as good as the 6th place in the NSIC,” Herron said. “That’s really what you gather from the committee’s determination.”
Six teams from the Northern Sun reached the tournament, while only one representative from both the MIAA and GAC is in the region.
Washburn, who finished the year 11th in the nation, was ranked 7th in the final regional rankings before the MIAA Tournament. The Ichabods then won their way to the finals, before falling to the regular season champion Lopers.
However, the committee had changed their minds and allowed a 6th team from the NSIC into the tournament instead of a 2nd team from the MIAA.
This isn’t the first time Washburn has been snubbed in the NCAA Tournament due to the regional rankings.
The baseball team, who had a historic season with a talented senior class, was also left out of the region for the NCAA Tournament.
“The Division II Model is the worst of all three models,” Herron said as he recalls another team that was left out of their regional section. “This year it was us, last year it was Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota Duluth finished 5th in the country and didn’t make their own regional tournament… there’s something screwy about that.”
Coach Herron has actually made a proposal to try and fix the D-II model, but in the meantime, both him and his team will face a harsh reality.
“The reality is, you’re not going on,” Herron said. “You’re not practicing tomorrow, whereas we practiced today (Monday).”
The Ichabods graduate 5 seniors in this year’s class, but they’ll hope to start a new streak with a talented young group next year.